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Frequent recognition is key for effective managers

Updated on August 29, 2023

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Manager effectiveness

Employees recognized weekly by their managers are 10x more likely to recommend their manager than those never recognized.

Frequent recognition is one of the biggest predictors of manager effectiveness and is identified as one of the four factors of manager effectiveness in the new report from Achievers Workforce Institute.

This one-pager for HR leaders outlines the impact of frequent, meaningful recognition from managers and looks at one tool for increasing recognition frequency.

How frequently should a manager recognize their employees?

Managers should recognize each of their employees at least once a month. AWI research shows that at least monthly meaningful recognition increases important individual and employer outcomes such as productivity, job commitment, and overall engagement.

What is meaningful recognition?

Meaningful recognition is specific, personal, and impact oriented. Generic or non-meaningful recognition does not drive results because it feels superficial to the receiver. When leaders ask if there can be too much recognition, AWI research suggests that the answer is no — as long as recognition is meaningful.

Consider this example:

Generic Meaningful
Thanks for your help today. I appreciate your immediate response to our customer’s issue this afternoon. Without your support the problem could have dragged on, impacting our relationship with them. Your expertise and willingness to help truly saved the day!

Someone could hear generic recognitions every day and it would have very little impact. On the other hand, a meaningful recognition provided monthly has a lasting effect on engagement and motivation.

Measuring recognition frequency and impact

Many managers struggle to weave recognition into their daily activities, especially as they juggle competing priorities, employee needs, and personal responsibilities. Nine out of ten managers say they can’t focus on the tasks that matter most to them due to workload or staffing issues.

Keep recognition top of mind by highlighting those doing well

Ensure recognition is one of their priorities by measuring it and sharing results. If you’re running an ad hoc or in-house program it may be difficult to quantify exact frequency but adding a question such as “I feel meaningfully recognized by my manager” to your engagement survey can at least measure the outcome.

For those with a recognition platform, sharing trends and data can help get managers on board.

Download the one-pager for more data and insights on manager recognition and check out the Foundations of Manager Effectiveness Report for the complete picture on empowering your people leaders.

One of the ways we encourage teams to recognize more is that we share reporting across the board all the time without redacting information out of concern for hurting someone’s feelings. We highlight the top locations and individuals so each leader can take action however they want. There’s no shame or callouts for locations that are at the bottom of the list but what we see is that our leaders are inspired by their peers’ success. They tell us ‘I didn’t know we could be doing even better than we are.'

Jose Halupa

Executive Director, National Operations - Cineplex


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